The Bill of Rights Forum held its inaugural meeting today but the body charged with giving the project some fresh impetus seems to be the same old gather-ups. The Forum is made up of 14 politicians, 14 representatives from wider civic society and an independent chair. However, not all the civic society representatives have been confirmed and the independent chair will not be appointed until early next year (David Hanson chaired this morning’s meeting). It has been given the target date of producing its report by the end of 2007. Consultation paper and government response here.It appears that the 14 civic society representatives will hold no surprises as government propose to divide the positions up in the following manner:
Trade unions 2 places
Employers 2 places
Churches 2 places
Human rights NGO sector 1 place
Community / voluntary sector 7 places
The 7 community and voluntary sector representatives are to be selected on the following basis – children and young people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, older people, people of different sexual orientations, women and the community / voluntary sector as a whole.
The Human Rights NGO sector position has been given to the Committee for the Administration of Justice. There seems to be some dispute over the most appropriate way to select the Protestant church representative and the Unionist parties are concerned about the exclusion of the Loyal Orders.